China Needs More Than Expected Aircraft for Wanderlust Middle Class, Boeing Says
Xu Wei
/SOURCE : Yicai
China Needs More Than Expected Aircraft for Wanderlust Middle Class, Boeing Says

(Yicai Global) Sept. 12 -- US airplane giant Boeing nudged up its predictions regarding aircraft demand in the Chinese market for the next two decades as the Asian country's rising economy is fueling its journey to becoming one of the top -- if not the largest -- aviation market in the world.

China needs to buy almost 7,700 new airplanes at a total price of about USD1.2 trillion over the next 20 years, the Chicago-based company said in a market outlook report published yesterday. This year's numbers imply an increase of 6.2 percent compared with the forecasts last year, online news outlet China Internet Information Center reported.

More than USD1.5 trillion worth of flight services are needed to support fleet growth and China will rank among the largest aviation service markets in the world, the report added. 

China is the fastest growing and most dynamic commercial aviation market, which is mostly driven by the continuous and steady development of the national economy, said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Over the next decade, urbanization and tourism will contribute more to the country's gross domestic product growth, and economic growth will become more robust and balanced, he said, adding that this development will shift reliance on industrial production and trade toward a new model based on services and consumption. Consistent and steady economic development will translate into continuous rises in people's disposable income, while fueling the middle class expansion, he added. 

China's middle class expanded three-fold over the last decade, and the volume of the commercial air transportation market grew even faster. Boeing forecasts that the middle-income population will double again in the next 10 years, and so will the civil aviation industry, Tinseth said. 

The company estimates that China's passenger aviation market more than doubled in volume over the last decade, while the average passenger load factor rose five percentage points. Chinese airlines' use of planes has become increasingly efficient, and the average leg length has grown consistently by the year.

In terms of long-haul international flights, the fastest growth is mostly seen in second-tier cities. Over the past five years, 19 cities made their way into the long-distance flights market and some 90 new routes were introduced connecting second-tier Chinese cities with far-flung destinations. Some 25 carriers made their debuts in the second-tier long-haul flight service markets. Judging by flights to North America, Europe and Asian countries, Chinese airlines now have a more than 50 percent share of the long-distance flight market, Tinseth said. 

Regarding the freight sector, both shipments and revenues of Chinese courier companies have grown explosively with the rapid rise of the e-commerce sector. Boeing expects that China will buy some 200 or so new cargo airplanes and some 470 modified ones in the 20 years to come. Most of the modified aircraft will go to the courier industry, the marketing VP said.

Editor: Emmi Laine 

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Keywords: Boeing , Airplanes , AVIATION , Economy Outlook , Middle-Class , China's Economy